I am looking for memory for SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DAH+-F-O Dual LGA 1366 (http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/qpi/5500/x8dah_-f.cfm). Basically, I am looking for the difference between ECC and non-ECC memory. I have googled it, and it appears that it is better to get non-ECC memory, because:

  1. Memory is already fairly stable.
  2. Non-ECC memory performs better than ECC memory.
  3. Non-ECC memory is cheaper

What will be the reason to get ECC memory?

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Fairly stable is not the same as completely stable. Lots of things can mess up in RAM - heat, failing chips, cosmic radiation, gremlins, unstable power. It may only mess up one in a few trillion trillion times - but RAM is reading and writing millions of bits a second.

ECC RAM is designed to be able to catch those failures and fix them. For a server, this is important, because it can mean the difference between continuing to run or crashing. Or the difference between your paycheck being $1000 or $100. It also allows the server to watch for RAM that is starting to fail.

The performance difference is fairly small - 2-3% or so I believe. Not enough to be noticable. Your server crashing because of bad RAM is however very noticable.

If it is not a critical system - doesn't process financial records, some downtime or even data corruption is acceptable, etc, and you are on a budget, Non ECC RAM is fine. But for most applications, the extra expense is worth it for the added reliability.

What will be the reason to get ECC memory?

If you don't want your OS or applications to crash because of transient memory errors, then you should get ECC. If you want the cheapest option available, you should get non-ECC. It's as simple as that.

You should get ECC memory if you are using this server for "mission critical" or "too important to fail" tasks and EVERYTHING should perform flawlessly.

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